Restaurants are more than a major driver of our economy, they’re woven into the fabric of our communities. And so for many families, restaurants are the gateway to opportunity — a key part of the American story For one in three Americans, a restaurant provided their first job. More than half of all Americans have worked in a restaurant at some point in their lives. Before the pandemic, restaurants and bars employed 12 percent, 12 percent of all the workers in our country. Right now, only about a quarter of the restaurant owners expect to return to normal operations in the next six months. We can do much better than that with the American Rescue Plan. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, that’s what it’s called, the Revitalization Fund, will provide direct relief to restaurants and to hard-hit food establishments, bars, bakeries, food stands, food trucks and caterers. Started accepting applications on Monday. Today’s Wednesday, we made it quick and easy to apply. Within the first two days, there were 186,200 applications in all 50 states for help. That’s a staggering number — 97,600 of those applications came from businesses owned by women, veterans and socio-economically disadvantaged individuals. Now, the applications — they all haven’t been processed — but right now it looks like we’ll be able to provide help to about 100,000 restaurants and other eligible businesses.